Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Stories of Persecution

So they all was-- d...died. She says.

What did you think of these stories when you heard them?

Oh, we--then we was very heartbroken. Then we knew it's something happening already. You know, then we believed it's happening. And she survived. I think she married him, I don't know what happened to her. But uh, really it was something that she survived and come and tell us these stories. And then we were scared, really scared. So when they took us away from home, my mother wanted to put something uh, you know, where we was making fire, that should blow up the house and everything should burn down. So I didn't let her. I said, "Mom, we will come back here maybe." She says, "My child, never. We never come back here anymore." Some reason, she knew. Say, they're taking us... [interruption in interview]

Nobody dreamed that they will go, take a gas chambers. When we come, and you smelled like you know, burnt flesh uh, you know, we smelled it.

At Auschwitz.

In Auschwitz. So uh, in the--both of us you know, is Jewish. And we--one girl asked, "When will we see our parents. When--where are they?" And they cut your hair you know, they give you one dress, no underwear, nothing. You're shivering staying in line there in the morning, early in the morning. And she was crying and she says uh, "When will I see my mother?" And sh...they say, "She's there, the chimneys, burning. And sh...uh, she is uh, uh, füstö--how do you say füstö? The, the thing is coming out of the chimney, there she...


The, the smoke. "There she is smoking through the chimney. Don't you feel the flesh?" She told us. She said the truth, but we was angry with her that she told us that.

These were prisoners who told you.


Other Jews.

Yeah. But uh, she was Jewish. But, she was a, a slower. They was already four years there. They were heartless. She says when you was eating cholent and I was hungry here already. But uh, after the war uh, when uh you know, she run away uh, she had a husband--but she had a German SS woman. She was probably a homosexual and she came to her all the time there in her room and she give her everything. She was dressed to kill. But she couldn't help it. She had a husband. She never saw her husband. He was still there in Auschwitz, but she never saw her husband. And once they let her--let him come over to visit her. So everybody was jealous. I ha...saw a cousin in Auschwitz, he was in C Lager, and from there they was taking people always and selected to kill, everyday. Because it was thirty-four or thirty-six barracks you know, and a thousand five hundred in each barrack, you know. It was a long chimney there and uh, the...from there they were selecting. Every single day we had to go naked, say Zählappell and they looked us through and they selected, you know.

Do you know who they were? Was it Mengele all the time?

No, no. Just Germans. SS.

SS, not doctors?

No, no. They was hitting us because once I fai...fainted. I was standing in the front and my mother behind me and my sister behind her and two girls from our town, five. So uh, I was standing and I fainted. So the SS came and s...smacked me and I woked up right away. So, uh.

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